Al Jazeera English Gets NYC Carriage


Al Jazeera English has secured carriage in New York City via an agreement with a local channel carried by Time Warner Cable and Verizon's FiOS TV.

The news channel, which has had trouble gaining U.S. distribution but has earned a higher profile here for its coverage of the Arab Spring turmoil in the Mideast, began 23-hour daily coverage Monday on TWC and will be available on FiOS "in the coming days," according to the programmer.

It's being shown on the RISE channel (92 on Time Warner Cable). RISE is owned by RNN, a Kingston, N.Y.-based broadcaster whose main channel, WRNN-TV, reaches more than 5 million viewers in the New York area on TWC, Cablevision and FiOS TV, largely via must-carry rights.

RISE, which claims carriage in 2 million homes in the New York City area, had carried Mega TV Spanish-language programming since early last year.

RNN has not disclosed carriage terms for AJE programming but it is believed to be a paid-carriage arrangement.

The New York Times reported that RNN gained a second channel on Time Warner Cable in New York when the cable operator moved WRNN from analog carriage to digital. WRNN is on the operator's local lineup at channel 91.

In February, AJE gained carriage on Comcast, Cox and FiOS TV in the Washington, D.C., area via an arrangement with MHz Networks, which broadcasts international programming on multicast channels.Al Jazeera English also will air one hour per day on WRNN-TV weekdays at 5 p.m., leading into RNN's Richard French Live call-in show.

"We're delighted to now be on televisions across New York," Al Anstey, Al Jazeera English's managing director, said in a release. "This launch has been fueled by viewer demand. We are already part of the media landscape here, with one in ten people having got information on events in America and the world from our website this year alone. We get more web traffic from New York than any other city on earth. Half a million New Yorkers are classed as regular visitors."

RNN president Dick French said in the release: "We are thrilled to be working with Al Jazeera English to meet the demand that exists for more international news in the New York City area, one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse in the world. Al Jazeera English has a clear commitment to telling stories from often underreported regions from Latin America, through Africa and the Middle East to Asia and the Far East. We're sure New Yorkers will appreciate its presence in the lineup of channels."

Al Jazeera English has 70 bureaus around the world in six different continents. The channel's content can be seen on multichannel providers in Los Angeles and Ohio in addition to Washington, D.C., and it can be viewed across Latin America and Canada.

Its push for carriage this year included a campaign to get viewers to contact cable and satellite-TV providers. AJE said more than 70,000 emails have been sent by "Americans asking for access to the channel, with among the highest percentage of these emails coming from New York. "

Al Jazeera English was established in 2006 as part of the Al Jazeera Network, with its own content, editors and journalists, and has won numerous awards, this year's Columbia Journalism Award.